Prof Eleonora Da Pozzo
PhD project Title:
Study of TSPO in human glial cells as possible target for control of neuroinflammation
Neuroinflammation is a biological process closely related to the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. During this process, glial cells exert a pivotal role in control of neuroinflammation but, at the same time, their activation can lead to an aggravation of the pathological conditions. TSPO (18 kDa Translocator Protein) is an outer mitochondrial membrane protein involved in various cellular processes such as proliferation, apoptosis and steroidogenesis. In the central nervous system TSPO is particularly expressed in glial cells, thereby it has been proposed as a novel target for the control and even imaging of neuroinflammation. However, its real role in neuroprotection has raised many controversies in years, especially about its involvement in steroidogenesis “de novo”. The purpose of my PhD project will focus on the evaluation of the effective role of TSPO in steroidogenesis and in particular if the production of steroids can bring to an anti-inflammatory phenotype shift of microglial cells. In addition, my work will focus on how TSPO is regulated during neuroinflammation, so the cellular pathways involved.